Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the U.S. It's also the leading cause of disability. According to statistics from the CDC, over 795,000 people in the U.S. every year. Out of that number, 140,000 of those people will die. Sobering statistics, indeed.

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What is a stroke? They occur when one of the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain is blocked by a clot or, alternatively, in the event a weak vessel in the brain bursts.

One of the very highest risk factors for stroke is having high blood pressure. In fact, close to 80% of those suffering an initial stroke do. Not surprisingly, other risk factors include smoking, obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

May is American Stroke Month. So, we're a day early. But that's okay. Because when it comes to knowing the signs of a stroke, knowing sooner rather than later can save a life.

According to the CDC, the signs to watch for include a severe headaches with no other cause, trouble walking with loss of balance or coordination, dizziness, trouble seeing in either one or both eyes, numbness in face, leg, or arm--particularly if it's on one side, and confusion or trouble understanding speech.

The American Stroke Association has a helpful acronym know as FAST as an easy to remember guide when every minute matters.

F--Face Drooping

A--Arm Weakness

S--Speech

T--Time to Call 911

To learn more about how to prevent, treat, and recover from a stroke, please acquaint yourself with the American Stroke Association's website.